Report: Theo Epstein “actively looking” to hire GM in order to become Cubs’ president

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Many were surprised when SI’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today that the Cubs were interested in hiring Padres general manager Jed Hoyer. Now it makes a lot of sense.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Theo Epstein is “actively looking” to hire a general manager, a move that would enable him to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations.

It’s unclear whether Hoyer would want to join Epstein in Chicago or whether San Diego would grant him permission to leave. Hoyer, who worked with the Red Sox for eight years before being hired as Padres GM in October of 2009, is under contract through 2013 with a club option for 2014. The Cubs are still negotiating compensation with the Red Sox for Epstein, but it’s possible they could find themselves in another compensation situation with San Diego.

One interesting twist is that the Padres have a potential in-house replacement for Hoyer in the form of Josh Byrnes. He served as vice president of baseball operations this season and formerly worked as Diamondbacks GM under Jeff Moorad, who is now the majority owner of the Padres.

Of course, Byrnes has also been mentioned as a possible assistant to Epstein in Chicago, so this could go any number of directions in the coming days.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.